MARK WRIGHT Singer/Songwriter With a cache of powerful, passionate songs and an impenetrable, echoing voice that has a tendency to stay in your head, Mark Wright is more than just another singer/songwriter from the state of Washington. Wright has dedicated more than half his life to the passion of writing and performing music. His obsession began as a little boy growing up in Northern Washington in a music-loving family. 'My family used to listen to Barry Manilow, and sing along with him,' says Wright. 'It was an opportunity to get our voices loose and have fun.' Although his musical tastes were questionable in the beginning, as a youngster, Wright kept pursuing music through the traditional routes. 'I sang a medley at the school talent show with some friends, and tried the choir,' says Wright. Wright got serious about music at around age 17 when he became part of a U2 cover band. 'U2 was undoubtedly my biggest influence,' says Wright. 'I love the emotion in all of their songs about hope and the uncertainty of youth.' While the young singer embraced the melody and emotion of U2, he developed a hunger for a heavier edge courtesy of the budding Seattle grunge scene. 'I spent most of my time studying Soundgarden's style,' says Wright. 'I love their ability to blend power and fury within the confines of melodic music.' While pursuing a degree in East Asian Studies at Western Washington University, Wright did time as the drummer, vocalist and lead songwriter for bands such as Cain's Libido and Gypsy Sandcastle. Although neither group reached the same levels of fame as their Seattle counterparts, the experience gave Wright an education in working as a member of a band. Through his involvement with both groups, Wright cemented his commitment to songwriting and performing. Wright's biggest success came after earning a Master's Degree in Education, when he met up with Drummer David Caron. Caron and Wright formed the hard rock, power foursome known as Black. Black went on to release three albums, headline club tours, and sell over 5,000 albums. They also made appearances at famed gigs such as the Bite of Seattle, an opening slot for Queensryche at The Bank of America Center in Boise, and two dates as house band on the Jenny Jones Show. After the fury of Black, Wright decided to get back to his more melodic, U2 roots, and along with Caron formed Middle 8. While Middle 8's music incorporated the power of Black, it also gave equal time to Wright's passion for melody and intricate lyrics. 'I love to sit here and feel the band,' says Wright. Middle 8 had a successful underground run with it's first release entitled Hero, selling over 5,000 CDs. Wright now focuses his time and energy working on his solo career, writing and performing acoustic sets of music with drama and emotion. His choice is to downplay the frivolity of image, and create songs with depth. 'Music should move people, but the world is a difficult place now, and we expect to be entertained by the look of the band more than the sound of the band,' says Wright. When he's not doing music, Wright is teaching World History and Japanese to high school kids. He also coaches high school varsity girls' basketball and soccer, but his love and passion lives in music. With honed songwriting skills, recording experience, and a slew of notable performances under his belt, Wright looks forward to a bright future filled with great music. 'There is a lot of good music out there right now, and I'm glad to be a part of it!'